Thursday, March 29, 2012

Superstition galore

When Sachin Tendulkar completed his 100th century, entire India supposedly heaved a sigh of relief and like any other ardent cricket fan, believed that they had a contribution in Sachin's excellent track record for a career spanning two decades. It is normal for sportsmen to have lucky charms and wear them or have some superstitions they believe will make them perform better. But, isn't it a little strange that cricket fans are so much in love with the game that they think their actions could affect how their team performs? Of course, India is a country where cricket seems to be the ray of hope in an otherwise not such a sport-backed country. But, even in America, I have heard from friends about the things they would do to make their teams win, be it the Super Bowl or NBA Championships. What amazes me though, is the fact that, mot people refer to these anecdotes from the past, feeling nostalgic about it. Why is it that as we grow up, we stop following these superstitions?

Is it the fact that we are too grown up now, and understand that wearing the same T-shirt for every game your team plays is not practical? I mean, I remember wearing the same blue colored T-shirt for every World Cup game India played in 1999. And it is not that India won all the games in which I had worn the same T-shirt. They did lose one game, yet I found a reason to defend why the loss was because of something else and not the T-shirt. Now, World Cup advertising campaigns also rely heavily on people being superstitious and trying to support their team in some little way. If anybody remembers, we used to have the Pepsi Blue ( and Clinic All Clear commercials, where you were supposed to drink Pepsi Blue  to get that India blue inside of you and were supposed to wash your hair with Clinic All Clear. And to add to that, they had the cheesy tagline "Dho Daala" (Rival team is washed away). Can you believe the shampoo was an anti-dandruff one, and it is just amazing how they could relate it to cricket. But, as embarrassed as I am to admit it, I did believe, using Clinic All Clear would make the Team India win!

From my personal experience, I know I have stuck to my chair in the same position, not moving an inch, so that all the wickets would stay intact. I would prohibit my father from saying anything in favor of the Indian team or making comments which indicated that the Indian team would win. Just because a few times, when he said India would win, they lost. So, he couldn't say anything until we had actually and truly won the match! Now, when I think of it- could I have been any more childish? But, that is the conviction with which I believed  we could make a difference to our team winning or losing. Even in times, when our team was not doing well at all and had no chance of winning whatsoever, or even losing with some dignity. 

And span the camera to World Cup 2011, when we actually had a shot at winning the title. I couldn't see all the matches, I did not wear blue for all the match days, and I definitely did not sit in one position for the whole of the match. I was getting up constantly to get some work done, make lunch, take a call or something else. What was wrong that I did not feel like doing my bit for my team? For one, since my very favorite player  of all time, Saurav Ganguly had retired from cricket, I had kind of detached myself from cricket in protest. Just look at the intensity of my faith in him; as though me not watching cricket was going to do any good at all. But, that was my way of showing solidarity for a man, who according to me had been treated unjustly, but who would never know I even existed.

That aside, today, when I have a better understanding of worldly affairs, I no longer, believe that my actions or beliefs can have any effect on the performance of any team. Is it because I have grown up and have become sensible or is it because I have lost that passion, that zeal required to blindly follow your team, no matter what? The way I look at it, when we are younger, we are oblivious to the real world. Life and its multiple dimensions are unfathomable by us, and we live in an illusion. But this illusion is what makes us believe, have faith and be passionate about what we believe in.

Once we grow up, and face the harsh realities of life, our faith is crushed, the passion dies off and we are transformed into realistic and dull robots. We are so caught up with so many more relevant issues, the pressures of daily life, where we have to divert our energy, that we tend to ignore these petty issues. Like a lot of people say, "I would rather have loved and lost, than to not have loved at all". I would rather put my faith in some team, than not have faith at all. I would rather believe so strongly in something, that I think my beliefs will change things, than not believe in miracles at all. I would rather have that zest for life, than follow a monotonous routine where work is all that matters. I would rather enjoy life, being silly and following superstitions, than be serious and pragmatic to the extent that I no longer know what it felt like to be a child! I remember how bad it hurt to have lost so badly in the 2003 World Cup, when we had had such a wonderful run up to the finals. But, what I can't remember is when the last time was that I felt so strongly about something that the disappointment still brings up a lump in my throat.

I am sure there are a lot of people who still follow their favorite sport and favorite player, with that unshakable belief, and hats off to them for keeping the child within them alive. I am just hoping I can get over the fact that I will no longer see my hero, Saurav Ganguly on the field and will have to find someone else I can follow with as much as dedication! I am hoping I can go back to being so innocent and naive, that I can find life's little pleasures, without worrying about its intricacies  :)

Think about it! What would you want to bring back from your childhood days of innocence?

Some videos that will make cricket-lovers nostalgic



  1. At least i appreciate the fact that sports are followed ardently in India..even though only mcuh of Cricket..But people get a sense of good feeling by following the stars they've grewn up with..

    1. Very true Rohit! Having childhood idols makes us hopeful!

  2. Wonderful post. I enjoyed the instance of your stopping your father from saying anything favoring India.
    I still wear the same shirt and pants for important meetings and presentations which I wore 10 years back. It gives some comfort. I remember wearing same clothes for all 8 days of CA examination.
    Superstition-of course. Irrational- of course. But I still prefer to be...

  3. Thank you, it always feels nice to be complimented for your work :)
    As, for superstition, who ever said it was rational? It is supposed to make us feel good, and that's all that matters, right?

  4. wonderful post !! being an ex club cricketer I loved this post!!
    wonderful keep writing.

  5. Thanks Rahul...its nice to know that people can identify with my writing!

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